REVIEW: Spring Awakening – Lyric, Hammersmith

I have just gotten back from the Lyric Hammersmith theatre in London where my friend Adam and I went to see ‘Spring Awakening‘, a new musical based on the 1891 play by German playwrite, Frank Wedekind.

sa-moritzFirst off, I really must say that I was terribly impressed with this show.

Although I was unaware of the original play, and thus cannot comment upon it’s comparison and likeness to the original work, I thought that it was a coherent piece of theatre, with a strong cast and top-notch quality acting.

For those people interested in such a comparison, Wikipedia has quite a good analysis on the page for the musical version of this play (as well as having a seperate page for the play itself).

The story is set in late 19th Century Germany and focuses on a small group of teenagers and their new-found discovery of sex and sexuality. As you would imagine, Spring Awakening is not really suitable for children due to the overarching themes of sex, sexuality, rape, masturbation, abortion and the bad language that is sometimes used (there is a song called ‘Totally F***ed’ for example). Perhaps not the most likely of subjects to make a new rock musical out of… but I can think of a few West End shows with yummy actors in them that I’d like to see explore some of those themes hehe!  (note to self – “TSK! Shame on you!” hehe).


A great mix of drama and songs, I thoroughly enjoyed this performance – it is easy to see why this show garnered 8 Tony awards in the USA (incidentally, this show has just closed on Broadway and is currently touring the USA).

It has just been announced (literally this afternoon) that Spring Awakening will transfer to The Novello Theatre the week after closing at the Lyric Hammersmith (it closes 14th March, re-opens 21st March) where it will initially run until October 2009. The  soundtrack for the show (the OBC and not an OLC) will be released in the UK on 23rd February 2009.

The stage set itself was lovely, both Adam and I remarked on it, and we especially liked the use of lighting – it was a fantastic set-up that they had with numerous bare lightbulbs hanging down from the ceiling – it almost made me want to up sticks and head back to Manchester to start work on a warehouse conversion project so that I could have lighting as fantastic as was on display on stage!

The picture below gives a fair idea of the lighting design that we so loved.


The space was very well used, and it was really easy to follow all of the action. They managed to make the space versatile enough for one to watch for two hours without it becoming dull. (NB – the show is 2 hours, 20 mins, including interval, though the timings may change when it transfers to The Novello).

As an aside, both Adam and I reckon that this is the start of Harry Potter the Musical…. the lead chap, Anuerin Barnard, looks just like Lee Meade… who in turn looks like Harry Potter we think! If you squint a little bit, Charlotte Wakefield (the leading lady) could pass as Hermoine Granger, and Sian Thomas (who plays the Adult Lady – and was one of my favourite characters!), is actually IN Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, hehe!

Plenty of totty in this musical, though I must say that Iwan Rheon (who plays Moritz) wins the over-all prize:


Followed shortly by Jamie Blackley who plays Hanschen:


It was really nice to see such a young cast… I have read somewhere that only three of the cast members do not fall in to the 16 – 24 age bracket (and two of those are middle age adults). I must say, I did initially remark to Adam that I had enjoyed hearing a youthful ensamble when it came to the singing… having adults singing some of these songs may have caused for the vocals to be a little overpowering perhaps.

I have also posted regarding the OBC recording on THIS post – it’s remarkable how quickly the soundtrack has become one of my favourites of all time!

The show also has Chris Barton in it as a swing, whom some of you may remember from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Any Dream Will Do” show when searching to find his new Joseph.

Chris Barton

I’ve posted my four favourite songs from this show below, although for me, it was really all about the acting on this occasion:

And Then There Were None [my over-all favourite]

Mama Who Bore Me

Totally F***ed

The Bitch Of Living

At this point, I hasten to add that I in no way condone people recording in theatres and whatnot… especially when the production’s own website carries audio/visual on it (it’s just a pity one can’t link to it!) :

If you are considering frequenting the show, I would judge it based on the clips on their website, and not the random YouTube links that I have posted above (as there really wasn’t much kicking around on there!).

To finish the post, I thought that I’d do so on this brief clip… the legend that is Whoopi Goldberg getting in on the action at the Tony Awards hehe!


About Gari

Northern lad; living out in the Peak District and rediscovering life after having had a brain tumour.

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